Field Sales Account Management


See how SPOTIO can increase your team's sales performance by automating, tracking, and optimizing every moment in the field.

What is outside sales? How do you succeed in the field? We’ll cover each topic and more in this comprehensive guide.

Being the face of the product/service makes the role of an outside salesperson an important one. Face-to-face interaction is what sets outside sales reps apart from their inside selling counterparts.

In this guide, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know about outside sales, including what it is, how it differs from inside sales, what outside sales reps do, the skills they need to find success, and a whole lot more. Let’s get started!


Table Of Contents

What Is Outside Sales?
Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales
What Does An Outside Sales Rep Do?
Most Important Skills For Outside Sales Reps
Average Outside Sales Rep Salaries
How To Hire Top Performing Outside Sales Professionals
Outside Sales Interview Questions
7-Step Guide To Building A Winning Outside Sales Team
Inside And Outside Sales Teams Can Work Together
The Ultimate Outside Sales Stack
Outside Sales Training Resources



What Is Outside Sales?

Outside (or Field) Sales reps work outside a formal office and formal team environment. They travel to meet customers face-to-face, spending  the majority of their time meeting clients and prospects in person.


Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales

When looking at outside sales, you’re working autonomously most of the time. The area around you is your “office” – in that you meet with people all over the place – and you spend quite a bit of time driving around in your car.

With inside sales, you are more likely to be in a team environment in an office working set hours, depending on the industry you are in. You will likely make many more contacts with prospects and customers in a day since you are not spending any time driving around to an appointment.

Bonus resource: Inside vs. Outside Sales: Which is Right for Your Business?

A top performing sales strategy will include elements of both inside and outside sales.



What Does An Outside Sales Rep Do?

A day in the life of a sales rep can be broken up in the following ways:


Prospecting For Leads

According to a poll done by, when salespeople were asked what they struggle with the most, 42% said it was prospecting. It doesn’t matter how good you are at selling, if you have nobody to talk to, that skill won’t matter.

Field sales reps need to be able to easily access and use a variety of demographic and customer data to prospect efficiently. With a tool like SPOTIO’s Lead Machine, reps can pull valuable data about factors such as a prospect’s income, credit capacity, age of home, home’s square footage, whether they’re a renter or owner, and more.


SPOTIO's Lead Machine
Image: SPOTIO’s Lead Machine enables outside sales reps to filter prospects using 200+ different data attributes.


Being able to harness accurate data means that reps are able to engage with the right prospects and avoid working poor leads.


Sales Territory Mapping

How many prospects live in or operate a business in a given area? How close together are they? How many of them are near an existing customer that you could introduce yourself to in case your appointment cancels or ends sooner than you thought? This is where sales territory mapping comes in.

As mentioned before, spending too much time in your car zig-zagging across town will minimize the efficiency of the time you spend out in the field.

Knowing where to go, with minimal travel between engagements, is a great way to maximize your time and energy during the day.



Customer Mapping

Where are all your customers located? Is it a concentrated area or is it spread out? Where are they in relation to prospects you’d like to meet?

When you engage in customer mapping, you may find that you haven’t penetrated a desired market nearly as much as you would like to. Maybe you’ll see that you are into an area more than you would like to be and that there are more profitable markets to pursue.

Knowing your footprint from past deals and how it relates to where you would like to go is a vital part of managing your existing business as you seek to grow it.

With field sales software tools (such as SPOTIO), this process is automated — you can drop pins on properties located on a map so that you have a physical representation of a desired territory.

It’s much easier to see on a map exactly where a desired property is located rather than staring at unorganized data in a spreadsheet or a handwritten list.

Having this level or organization at your fingertips is one of the main benefits of using field sales software.


Appointment Setting

You have the names. Now it’s time to set appointments with them. First, you should think about what to say, whether it be in person or on the phone. Using a script can help eliminate robotic, bumpy, and awkward conversations with prospects.

Here’s An Example Call Script:


Route Planning

Have you booked a few appointments? Great, now it’s time to go meet with these potential customers. There are two ways to do this:

You can drive to each prospect in a random order, crisscrossing your territory multiple times. Or you can plan your route in the most efficient manner possible so that you never have to backtrack. We suggest option #2.

For easy and effective route planning, check out SPOTIO’s Route Planning Software, which will automatically track mileage for you, too.


Sales Presentation

Data shows 75% of sales presentations leave prospects feeling like the salesperson just “didn’t get it.”

Obviously, this will have a negative impact on your chances of closing that deal. You want the prospect to feel like you understand, so practice your listening skills.

Make sure the presentation comes after a thorough discovery

It’s self-defeating to make a pitch when you haven’t gotten the answers to all the pertinent questions.

It’s possible that you have either the perfect answer to the problem the prospect has, or that you are the last solution they need to look at – this will be determined when you ask the right questions to determine if a presentation is even warranted.

Use case studies

To build your credibility, talk about real-life situations where you solved the same struggle(s) that the current prospect is facing.

Observe the 60-second rule

Don’t dominate the conversation. In order to maximize your chances of closing the deal, it needs to be an interactive presentation. Never talk for more than 60 seconds at a time. Ask for questions, etc. Pull them in.

Use feedback loops

This is how you stick to the 60-second rule. Asking “Does that make sense?” or “Are we on the same page?” will prompt responses that will keep the prospect engaged.

If you lose them, stop

When/if you feel like you’re starting to lose your prospect, there is nothing wrong with just stopping and asking for feedback.

Keep it brief

Getting off track will cost more sales than it will land. Stick to the points at hand. If you do anything other than present a solution to the problems that the prospect has, you’re going to lose them more often.

Explain The Next Steps

Most of the time, there are going to be next steps before you can close the deal. Make sure they are clearly defined, and most importantly scheduled, so that prospects know what to expect.


Lead Management

How do you keep track of all your prospects?

At any given time, your “sales funnel could contain hundreds to thousands of leads. When someone says, “Call me in a month,” or anything else that isn’t leading to a sale right now, how do you manage that contact? How do you make sure you don’t forget to call that contact again in a month?

The process and method of lead management is what drives the success of a sales team. Capturing specific details about each prospect quickly and efficiently, and then being able to use that data to increase productivity and sales is the goal of SPOTIO’s lead management software.


Automate Sales Tasks

For example, you can use SPOTIO’s Autoplays feature to build custom sales sequences. You simply decide when you want to contact a lead in the future and the method of communication you’d like to use. Then SPOTIO will either remind you to take this predetermined action at the appropriate time, or automate the communication for you so that nothing falls through the cracks.


Sales Reporting

How do you know if you’re effective enough at what you do? What are the most important metrics to keep track of so that you can keep everything else in line?

Here are some of the most vital metrics to monitor:

  • Team performance in relation to your sales funnel
  • Data from custom statuses and fields based on KPIs
  • Team performance and best time and day to knock
  • Number of attempts it takes to establish contacts, get leads, and make sales



SPOTIO’S Performance Reporting tool provides real-time insights that identify exactly where each individual team member needs assistance in the sales process. With this information, you will be able to spot-train reps on the areas where they need the most assistance to be successful.


Nerd Power Case Study


Most Important Skills For Outside Sales Reps

If you are thinking about outside sales as a career path, it’s probably a good idea to assess yourself and see if you possess the skills that employers are looking for. Employers may debate heavily as to what the most important skills are, so this isn’t an all-inclusive list.

You must be a subject matter expert when it comes to the product or service you are selling. You need to be able to answer any questions that come your way, and in a confident manner. If you aren’t confident in your answers, your prospect may have a hard time being confident in you.


Do Your Research

When you make your approach and have those initial contacts, being able to talk about their company shows that you are a professional that is truly interested in their business.

Doing research will also help you avoid contacting a prospect/company that is not a good fit.


Know Your Metrics

It’s hard to know if you’re hitting an objective if you don’t know what it takes to get there. These simple formulas can help you determine your key metrics:

Contact Rate: the number of decision makers (DMs) a rep speaks with.

Lead Rate: the number of leads generated from conversations.

Close Rate: the number of closed/won opportunities from the number of leads.

Average Revenue per Sale: the average amount of revenue a rep generates for each sale made.

Rate of Follow-up Contact: number of opportunities with at least 1 follow-up activity recorded.

Make A Good First Impression

When someone opens a door you knock on, or a decision maker in a business takes a minute to shake your hand, you have a short period to win more time with that person.

Your smile, the handshake, what you say, how you say it — all of these factors have a major impact on whether you can hope to turn this prospect into a client.


Qualify The Prospect

This is the process of asking deep, meaningful questions to determine if you are able to meet the challenge(s) your prospect is facing, and how to do so.


Answer Objections

Most objections at the forefront aren’t real objections, but a “smokescreen.” Being skilled at answering objections is vital to keeping a valid sale alive.


Learn To Handle Rejection

You must have the ability to “shake it off”– don’t take rejection personally.


Know When To Move On

Any individual you meet with will fall into one of 3 categories: They will buy right now, they will buy later, or they will never buy. Your job is to quickly figure out which one they are.

The sooner you can figure out what kind of person you are dealing with, the sooner you can either take them to the next step or move on to the next prospect.


Close The Deal

This is where you are putting together all the information you gathered, proposing a solution to your prospect’s need(s), and asking for their business.


Average Outside Sales Salary

The range of salaries for outside sales is between$17,500 and $100,000, with an average of $53,577.

That range includes salary, bonus, profit sharing, and commission. As you can imagine, the numbers will vary quite a bit from industry to industry.



How To Hire Top-Performing Outside Sales Professionals

Plain and simple, hiring the right people is hard. And expensive. The cost of replacing one employee can be up to two times their annual salary, and the process takes an average of four months.

This makes having a solid hiring strategy absolutely essential. So, how do you go about finding, hiring, and retaining your ideal candidates?


The Job Description  

Attracting top talent starts with writing a compelling job description that generates excitement about the role. Start by asking yourself what skills the ideal candidate should have, what their responsibilities should be, and what kind of experience and qualifications they will need to be successful.


1. Skills

When thinking about the skills your candidate should have, consider the skills exemplified by top performers in your organization and prioritize them.

In general, successful sales professionals typically:

  • Thrive with minimal direction and are willing to work independently
  • Have strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Are comfortable initiating and carrying out uncomfortable conversations
  • Are natural team players
  • Are detail-oriented

Consider these and other attributes you feel are important to success in the role and list them in order of priority in your job description.


2. Experience And Qualifications

Other relevant experience and qualifications to consider include familiarity working with a CRM, a proven track record of exceeding sales quotas, and industry-relevant certifications.

When listing experiences and qualifications, aim high. Those who desire the role, but don’t quite meet the listed qualifications will probably still apply — and they could end up being ideal candidates.


3. Responsibilities

Responsibilities should be clear based on the role you’re hiring for. Some examples include:

  • Develop and build relationships with new and existing customers
  • Maintain customer data related to leads, deals, and accounts within the company CRM
  • Travel within the sales territory
  • Stay continuously informed on matters important to the customer base, including industry trends, competition, company strategy, products, and market conditions
  • Collaborate with marketing and other teams to achieve success

Avoid being ambiguous in how you describe responsibilities. Being clear ensures that candidates who apply are indeed interested in the role you’re looking to fill.


Outside Sales Interview Questions

What kind of questions should you ask? If you focus on three main areas – personality, skills, and performance – you can easily find that superstar among your pool of candidates.

Some examples include:


1. Personality Questions

  • What drives you to succeed?
  • What are you looking forward to in this role?
  • What would you like to achieve in the next 3-5 years?
  • How do you prefer to work with your sales manager?
  • What is your optimal sales environment?
  • How do you see yourself fitting in with our company and this team?


2. Skills Questions

  • Would you rather call or email prospects? Why?
  • How do you deal with rejection?
  • What is your closing percentage?
  • How do you get around the gatekeeper when you call on a prospect?
  • When do you decide to walk away from a prospect?
  • Does social media play a role in your sales process? If so, how?
  • How do you stay up-to-date with industry trends? What specific resources do you reference?
  • What is your negotiation style?


3. Performance Questions

  • Tell me about a time when you were in a competition to win a prospect’s business that you ultimately won. What caused that to happen?
  • Tell me about a time when you won-over a hard-to-convince prospect. How did you do that?
  • When you lose a deal, what is the most common reason?
  • Tell me about a time when you didn’t hit your performance objective. Why did you fail, and what did you do to make sure it didn’t happen again?
  • Tell me about the achievement you are most proud of in your career.
  • What is the length of your current sales cycle?
  • How often do you beat your quota?


7-Step Guide To Building A Winning Outside Sales Team

A company can’t be successful without an effective sales team. That’s why  recruiting and retaining strong players is critical to success.

Once you have the right team in place, you need an effective management strategy.


1. Assign territories strategically.

Outside sales shouldn’t be a free-for-all. You need to take a strategic approach if you want to find success. So before you do anything else, cut territories and assign them to the most qualified sales representative.

SPOTIO will enable you to cut territories based on geographic boundaries or by drawing on a digital map. It will also give your team clarity as to who owns which territory, preventing unproductive overlap between reps.

Once territories are cut and assigned, management professionals will have access to important metrics they can use to design better sales strategies.

Why do some territories perform better than others? Do some territories lack qualified leads? Do some reps put in more effort than others? SPOTIO will help you answer these questions so that you can take appropriate action.


2. Set clear activity and performance goals

Are your reps over or underperforming? You won’t know unless you set clear goals and then track results. We suggest setting two kinds of goals:

  • Activity Goals: These are goals that have to do with sales rep effort. For example, sending 100 prospecting emails a week would be an activity goal. Decide which activities you want your reps to take on a regular basis, and how many times they need to do them.
  • Performance Goals: These are goals that have to do with results. For instance, maintaining a 40% close rate would be a performance goal. Decide which performance metrics matter most to you and then set targets for your outside sales reps to aim for.

Both activity and performance goals can be tracked with SPOTIO. We’ll talk more about this in a later section of this outside sales article.


3. Automate sales sequences

Your outside sales team has a few incredible advantages over the sales teams of yesteryear. One of them is access to automation technology.

Using tools like SPOTIO, you can create automated sales sequences that engage prospects, drive up interest, and even close deals on autopilot. You owe it to your company to capitalize on these opportunities.

Fortunately, it’s not that difficult. For example, you can use SPOTIO Autoplays to design custom sequences that include automated emails and texts, as well as call and visit reminders.

The best part is, Autoplays can be tailored to each individual prospect.

They can also be shared between outside sales representatives. Has someone on your team discovered a wildly successful sequence? Ask them to share it with their colleagues so that everyone’s sales numbers go up.


4. Track rep activity and performance

How do you know if your outside sales process is successful? Simple: you track the results. A quick look at the data will help you determine whether to hold steady or to make adjustments to your approach. But this begs another question…

How do you get access to this data? One of the easiest ways is to use SPOTIO.

Our platform’s Sales Tracking technology will tell you which activities your reps perform, how often they perform them, and the result of each activity. You can then use this information to access both the activity and performance goals you set earlier, and determine the success of your outside sales process.

Because of the insights available inside SPOTIO, our tool can also be used for forecasting purposes. All you have to do is assess your team’s past performance to help predict your future results with a high-level of accuracy.


5. Integrate your sales and CRM workflows

To reduce busywork for your outside sales representatives, take a few minutes to integrate your company’s tech stack. Particularly your sales engagement platform (i.e. a tool like SPOTIO) and your CRM software of choice.

Once you do, team productivity will skyrocket. Why? Because your reps won’t have to complete many of the tedious data entry tasks that they have to do now.

For example, they’ll be able to automatically log prospect interactions in real time with SPOTIO. The information they gather will then automatically sync to your company’s CRM, eliminating the need for reps to do it themselves.


6. Enable communication with prospects across multiple channels

You manage a successful outside sales team, which means your reps spend most of their time attending face-to-face meetings with prospects. That said, reps who only communicate with prospects via in-person meetings aren’t successful.

These days, the best outside sales representatives use a multichannel approach to engage potential customers.

In other words, if you want your outside sales team to boost sales, you need to make sure they’re using the phone, email, and text messaging to contact prospective customers, in addition to face-to-face meetings.


Multi channel communications in SPOTIO


SPOTIO makes multichannel communication easy. Use our platform to automate emails and text messages, remind reps to make calls at opportune moments, and track the results of each interaction with prospects.


7. Use software that improves ICP data for better prospecting

Last, but certainly not least, use the data at your disposal to better understand your prospective customers and create ideal customer profiles (ICPs).

This will allow you to generate higher quality leads, which, in turn, will enable you to close more deals in less time. Basically, improved sales performance starts with an in-depth knowledge of the people you sell to.

The data available inside SPOTIO, as we’ve already discussed, will help you develop ICPs, which you can then use to improve your results.


Inside And Outside Sales Teams Can Work Together

In an organization that uses both inside and outside sales teams, there’s a risk of an “us vs. them” mentality. And most of the time, that mentality starts from the top. If the executive team doesn’t promote the importance of working together, then it isn’t likely that inside and outside sales teams will see the value in collaboration.

Make sure the executive team is in alignment so they can model the desired behavior for their respective teams and spearhead efforts in working together.

The entire team needs to know what the other members of the team are doing. Are the marketing people actively developing leads in a salesperson’s territory? If so, is the sales rep aware of that activity?  And does the marketing team know whether a sales rep is following up with leads in a timely fashion?

SPOTIO integrates with a variety of popular CRM tools so that everyone remains on the same page. Every action outside sales reps take is easily logged in the SPOTIO platform, which will then sync with your company’s CRM of choice. This means that Marketing can easily view the quality of the leads they generate. And Sales can quickly see where each of their prospects are in the sales pipeline at any given moment.

Ultimately, this approach will improve relationships between sales and marketing teams.


The Ultimate Outside Sales Stack

SPOTIO’S software supports the tasks that help sales reps do their jobs — mapping, prospecting, lead management, reporting, and appointment setting. SPOTIO also helps sales managers track, manage and coach their teams.



SPOTIO’s sales mapping software uses location data to create a visual representation of territories. Customer mapping software helps you get the most from your team’s valuable time and helps reps increase sales by optimizing face-to-face relationship building opportunities. Learn more here.


Image: SPOTIO helps reps and managers geographically represent CRM data on maps and identify hidden sales opportunities and insights.



SPOTIO’s prospecting functionality allows sales leadership to streamline the sales prospecting process with CRM integrations. This allows sales reps to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time selling.

Features include easy field data entry, a quick way to view account history, and the ability to filter and organize leads.

SPOTIO also gives users access to Digital Business Cards. If you’re not familiar with the term, digital business cards are electronic versions of the paper business cards that successful outside sales reps have carried in their wallets for decades. They include all of the same information—your name, company, contact details, etc.—but can be sent with a simple email or text message and stored in a prospect’s phone. As such, they’re incredibly convenient and have the power to revolutionize your sales process.



Lead Management

SPOTIO’s lead management software makes field data entry easy, creating clear funnel visibility for sales managers as well as easy access to critical sales data. This allows users to easily determine the next best action while ensuring reps are working the right territory.

Additionally, lead management makes it easy to identify and take action on leads, whether the prospect is hot now, a future lead, or is one that would be better reassigned to another rep.


Rep and Sales Tracking

Rep tracking gives sales managers useful information in real time regarding rep location. This helps ensure sales rep accountability, gives insight into the status of a customer interaction, and provides management with details that are useful in managing and coaching sales teams. Learn more here.


Image: SPOTIO’s GPS rep tracking software provides sales teams with geo-based accountability in the field.



SPOTIO lets you create custom reports so you can track the data that will drive business results.

Features such as executive insights provide historical and real-time data that can help sales managers support their team as well as coach them for ongoing success.

  • AutoPlays: As mentioned earlier, Autoplays will enable you to create custom sequences of events. The result is a more efficient sales process. Best of all, Autoplays can be accessed on any device, which means outside sales reps have access to their sequences in the field.
  • My Reports: As an outside sales rep, you don’t need access to every company metric under the sun. With SPOTIO’s My Reports feature, You can easily create reports that only include the information you care about. Doing so will increase your productivity because you’ll be able to quickly view important KPIs without wading through other data points.



Appointment Setting

SPOTIO’s calendar feature allows users to create appointments right from their sales productivity interface.

All you have to do is integrate SPOTIO with your Google and/or Outlook calendar. Once you do, you’ll be able to manage your day and access lead notes from a single location, increasing field productivity in the process.

Additionally, appointments made with SPOTIO are easily transferred from one rep to another, as are important prospect notes. This means that canvassers can make appointments for closers, while minimizing miscommunications.


Routing and Mileage Tracking

Outside sales reps spend a lot of time in the car, traveling from one appointment to another. Unfortunately, every second you spend behind a windshield is a second you’re not closing deals. It makes sense, then, to minimize travel time.

SPOTIO’s Route Planning Software is designed to do just that!

Simply tell SPOTIO where you need to go and the software will automatically design the most efficient route between stops. Oh, and it gets better. SPOTIO will also automatically track and report your mileage, saving you hours of busywork.

The faster you get from Point A to Point B, the better. That’s what SPOTIO’s for!


Task Automation

It’s a well-known fact that most sales reps spend about 35% of their time selling. The other 65% of their days are spent on non-revenue generating tasks.

With SPOTIO’s Task Automation features, you can eliminate many of these activities, allowing you to spend more time doing what you were hired to do: close deals.


SPOTIO Task Automation feature


For instance, use SPOTIO to automatically log prospect interactions and transfer the data to your CRM of choice. Or use our platform’s talk-to-text feature to capture lead notes in your CRM while walking to lunch. Or create email sequences that are automated to send at specific times, enabling you to make sales on autopilot.

SPOTIO reduces the manual tasks outside sales reps hate so that they can increase their productivity levels and reach quota on a consistent basis.


Outside Sales Training Resources

Any true professional should be an ongoing student of their field. The sales profession is no different. Phone skills, general prospecting skills, fact-finding, closing technique, asking for referrals, marketing as a whole, client retention — these are all areas that a salesperson should continually work to improve.

Following are some resources to help develop those skills:

Wilson Learning offers resources and programs for sales, leadership, and workforce development. For sales, they offer programs on foundational and strategic selling, along with consulting, sales management, and sales support and service.

Customer Centric Selling offers sales training through training workshops around the globe. Their focus is on a buyer-driven sales process.

Richardson Sales Performance uses online curriculum and technology to facilitate their training and development programs.

There are literally hundreds of other places to seek out sales training in any area, whether it be based on a certain part of the sales process, or even based on industry.


Final Thoughts

Outside sales is a broad topic, and it’s impossible to cover everything in one article. The objective of this piece was to draw some attention to some key areas that will raise or lower the bottom line results in your organization and team.

From getting your sales team organized to equipping them with the tools to make them as pro productive as possible; all of these things require due diligence to ensure you are “stacking the deck” in your favor.

Speaking of tools, SPOTIO is the ultimate solution for outside sales teams. With our industry-leading software, field reps and the people who manage them will be able to work more efficiently, access important data with the click of a button, and boost their sales numbers to new heights.

Request a free demo of SPOTIO today to see it in action and decide if it’s the right tool for your needs. We’re confident it will be!